Visions of Rapture: Art Inspired by the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (2017)

THE PROJECT

This exhibit explores the process of providing an illustrated identity to a medium that is primarily known for its audio recordings. From the 1940s to the 1960s, American black gospel musicians recorded thousands of 45 RPM discs, often as one-off products that became the sole tangible evidence of years spent singing in church choirs, at gospel music festivals or under revival tents. As part of the manufacturing process, most 45s were only given a center label with some basic identifying information - song titles, artist’s name, the recording studio’s name, etc. - and only a very few were placed in anything other than a simple, plain paper sleeve.

The pieces in this exhibit are intended to provide a custom-designed album jacket for some of the 45 RPM discs found in the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, a project of Baylor University’s Electronic Library focused on collecting, cataloging, digitizing and providing access to America’s black gospel heritage. The jackets were designed by students in Art 4331, taught by Prof. Amber Walsh. Her students were asked to draw their inspiration from the songs’ lyrics, musical styles and even scriptural references to create the cover art that these albums lacked in their original pressings.

A NOTE ON THE PROJECT'S NAME

Visions of Rapture takes its title from the second verse of the 1873 Fanny Crosby hymn “Blessed Assurance.” Crosby, who was blind, wrote more than 8,000 hymns and gospel songs and earned the nickname “Queen of Gospel Song Writers.” Crosby’s lyrics describe the joy that comes with knowing earthly salvation is a “foretaste” of the delight to be found in the hereafter. The exhibit organizers felt this sentiment summed up our vision for this project as a way to complete the presentations of some truly outstanding examples of American cultural heritage.

 

THE ARTISTS

Katherine Borey - The Woodlands, TX

Hayden Burch - Keller, TX

Veronica Campbell - Splendora, TX

Joshua Rizzo - Los Angeles, CA

Hilary Liu - Tianjin, China

Austin McCroskie - Greenville, TX

Kayleigh McKenzie - Cypress, TX

Jenny Pan - Sugar Land, TX

Rebekah Rabon - Castle Pines, CO

Lauren Winters - Plano, TX


View the 2016 site for Visions of Rapture

Credits

Digital Projects Group